CFPB to Hire Obama-era DOJ Official to Lead Enforcement as the Division is Strengthened

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will name Eric Halperin, a longtime consumer advocacy attorney and former official with the U.S. Department of Justice during the Barack Obama administration, to serve as its new enforcement director. This is according to original reporting at Bloomberg Law, based on conversations with internal CFPB sources who wished to remain unnamed.

It is expected that Halperin will be appointed by CFPB Director Rohit Chopra in the coming days, according to the information that informed the reporting.

The news of Halperin’s impending appointment also comes on the heels of news relating the Bureau’s aggressive expansion of its enforcement division, in which it has added 20 to 30 enforcement attorneys to its staff in preparation for expanding its fair lending and redlining enforcement actions according to recent reporting at HousingWire.

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In Halperin’s case, he worked at the Obama-era DOJ in the Civil Rights division from 2010 until 2014, before serving as the acting deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Civil Rights division’s fair housing, fair lending and employment non-discrimination enforcement program. Currently, Halperin serves as the executive director of the Civil Rights Corps, which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the United States’ legal system.”

Chopra was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the third director of the CFPB at the end of September, with his confirmation arriving after a series of procedural and political complications kept Acting Director Dave Uejio – now on track to assume a new role at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – in the leadership position at the CFPB since Former Director Kathy Kraninger submitted her resignation on the same day that President Joe Biden assumed office.

The CFPB is responsible for regulating the reverse mortgage industry at the national level. Before Chopra’s confirmation, the CFPB had taken two notable actions against reverse mortgage lenders during the Biden administration, both geared in some fashion toward industry advertising.

The first took place this past April, with the Bureau settling with Mahwah, N.J.-based Nationwide Equities for advertising practices it described as “deceptive,” accusing the lender’s materials of violating the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule (MAP Rule), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA).

More recently, the CFPB settled with reverse mortgage industry leader American Advisors Group (AAG), alleging the lender sent borrowers deceptive and inflated home estimates in direct mailers to convince consumers to take out a reverse mortgage. The direct mailers advertised a prominent “estimated home value,” according to the court filing, which the CFPB claimed was inflated in an accompanying complaint.

Read the story about Halperin’s pending appointment at Bloomberg Law.

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